Elevate Your Cruise Experience

December 1st, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Do you enjoy cruising the oceans, rivers or intimate canal waterways? Get the most out of your cruise vacation by considering these three essential elements:
 

    1. cruise, river cruise, BudapestExtend your vacation by adding on a land journey before and/or after your cruise. You likely will travel a great distance to begin your cruise, so why not make the most out of your investment of time and money by seeing more of the destination where you begin or end your cruise? Several options can be considered from an escorted group tour, private chauffeur-driven tour, self-drive exploration or city stay.Many cruise lines offer an escorted group tour or city stay but there are also many other sources that may be more affordable and offer much more flexibility.
    2. Private, customized shore excursions can add a more enriching experience to your cruise and allow you to focus on what is more meaningful to you instead of having to settle for what is designed for a group.Shore excursions are an additional cost by most cruise lines and are typically rather expensive as this comprises a large part of their revenue. A completely private experience for you and your fellow travelers will be more expensive than a group excursion offered by the cruise line, of course, but offers total flexibility and an opportunity to immerse yourself more in the destination. In addition, there are several companies who specialize in providing shore excursions in various parts of the world and do so more affordably and in smaller groups than most cruise lines.
    3. cruise, River cruise, couple,Upgrade your cabin if your budget allows for this as this can greatly impact your enjoyment of the cruise. A better location on the ship to minimize noise and motion, a larger cabin, having a balcony versus a window, or selecting a concierge or club level with added amenities, or butler service are all upgrades that may be well worth the additional expense.

 
Not sure what cruise is right for you, and what enhancements are available? Gateway Destinations specializes in premium and luxury cruises for individuals, families and groups to all worldwide destinations. As a member of the Signature Travel Network, we offer very competitive pricing and amenities on many cruises. Have your own group of travelers? We can help choose the right ship and itinerary, take care of all the details and secure added benefits for your group.

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Is Premium Economy Seating Worth the Extra Cost?

November 15th, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Up until now, Premium Economy seating on US airlines (also known as Main Cabin Extra, Economy Plus, etc. depending on the airline) has offered very little more than a better location and sometimes extra legroom and has not even been available on international flights, but that is changing in 2017 with American Airlines. Their new 787-9 aircraft has a separate cabin for Premium Economy offering a 2-3-2 configuration with footrests, more legroom, free alcohol, better meals and noise-reducing headphones – very similar to what many international carriers have been offering for a while. They will begin this service with routes to Madrid and Sao Paolo but will be expanding it quickly. Delta Airlines is expected to follow suit. Pricing is not yet determined but is expected to be several hundred dollars more than Economy, and considerably less than Business Class.

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Redefining Celebrations

November 1st, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Celebration vacationDo you have a romantic celebration coming up such as a destination wedding, honeymoon, wedding anniversary, or perhaps have thought about renewing your wedding vows? There are so many details to consider when it comes to hosting a wedding. It is important that it reflects you and your partner as a couple and lets you share your love and happiness with your family and friends in a setting that reflects your values, style and budget. When it comes to celebrating your honeymoon, we understand that it’s all about you and your partner as individuals and as a couple, and enjoying a vacation that excites you and creates the unforgettable memories you seek. Celebrating your anniversary deserves an equally unforgettable experience. It should transport you away from it all, only to bring the two of you closer together. It should honor the amazing moments you have shared in the past years, while making new ones.

Celebration vacation, family vacationPerhaps you have an important life event such as a milestone birthday, graduation, retirement or even bachelor/bachelorette party you want to celebrate with friends or family? Travel is a delightful and fun way to mark special occasions in your life and we can help you determine just the right vacation to commemorate these milestone achievements.

Celebrating the reunion of friends or family members through travel creates memories that will last forever. It brings people, even generations, together and forges closer bonds.Whatever the special occasion, we can help you find the best hotels, resorts, cruises, and activities to suit your entire group. With our knowledge, expertise and connections, you can entrust the intricate planning to us.

Unlike a travel booking website, Gateway Destinations will take the time to get to know you, making sure your vacation is perfectly tailored to your needs. Leave the details to us and simply enjoy your celebratory journey.

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Can Jet Lag be Minimized or Avoided?

October 15th, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

A few suggestions you may find helpful if you are traveling through multiple time zones include:

  • Drink lots of water and limit your food intake during flight
  • Get sun exposure when you land – in the morning if traveling west and in the morning if traveling east
  • Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol during flight
  • If possible, adjust your bedtime gradually before departure by going to bed 1 or 2 hours later (if traveling west) or 1 to 2 hours earlier (if traveling each) each day for a week
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5 Tips to Stress-Free Holiday Travel

October 1st, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Looking to travel somewhere to spend the holidays? Make the most out of your vacation or family time by taking a few simple but important steps:

  1. European ChristmasPlan well in advance – this alone will help reduce stress. If flying, purchase tickets three to six months in advance to obtain optimal schedules and pricing. Take care to avoid high travel days whether flying or driving if at all possible (such as the Sunday after Thanksgiving). Hotel reservations should be made three or more months before travel as accommodations will be in high demand – some destinations should be even a year in advance. Make a checklist so you don’t overlook something as you get close to the busy holiday season.
  2. If flying for your holiday, save time and minimize frustration at airports by signing up for either TSA PreCheck (to expedite security screening for domestic travel) at www.tsa.gov or Global Entry (to expedite U.S. Customs and immigrations clearance for international travel) at www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply.
  3. Allow extra time while traveling during the holidays – on the road if driving, at train stations or at airports. If mailing holiday gifts, get to the post office early in the season and avoid long waiting lines.
  4. Pack smart. Plan what you really need to take with you and try to minimize luggage as trains and planes will be full and more luggage will likely be lost during the high holiday travel season. Make sure your identification is on all luggage, use only TSA locks and include a copy of your itinerary in your suitcase. Save space by shipping holiday gifts – if you do take some with you, leave them unwrapped as TSA may need to inspect them. Pack a change of clothes and healthy snacks in your carry-on bag if flying in case there is a travel delay or your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do.
  5. Stay healthy! Avoid ruining your trip by getting sick, so take some preventative measures before you leave. Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, eat well and get enough fresh air and exercise. Also, carry some hand sanitizer with you.
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Plan to Travel Frequently to the United Kingdom?

September 15th, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

If you travel frequently to the United Kingdom (or know someone who does), you may want to consider joining the UK’s new Registered Traveller Service (similar to our Global Entry). You must be 18 years or older, have an eligible passport, and have visited the UK at least four times in the last two years. Having this will eliminate the need for a landing card and expedite your arrival or connection time process. The cost for the first year is 70 GBP and 50 GBP per year thereafter. Interested? Go to: UK Registered Traveller. Please share this with your friends or colleagues.

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Exploring Down Under

September 1st, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Typically, people think of Australia when they think of a Down Under destination, but it also includes New Zealand and other smaller countries in the South Pacific. Naturally, seasons are opposite of the US and other countries in the northern hemisphere so this needs to be considered when traveling there.

Sydney Opera House, AustraliaAustralia, approximately the size of mainland USA, has distinctive and varied climate zones and offers much diversity for travelers–from tropical beaches and subtropical regions in the north which is where the Great Barrier Reef is found, one of the world’s most famous diving sites. For those interested in cultural history, Australia is home to one of the oldest surviving cultural traditions with origins dating back 40,000 – 60,000 years. Vibrant cities reside primarily in the temperate regions to the south – such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and offer much to enjoy. And let’s not forget Australia’s delectable wines, with two major wine regions found in the temperate zone ready to explore! This beautiful and diverse country can be reached non-stop in 15 ½ hours from Los Angeles.

Great barrier reef, australiaNew Zealand, consisting of two major islands, lies to the southeast of Australia and can be reached non-stop from the US in approximately 13 hours. Rich in history, New Zealand is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, offering today’s traveler much to discover. Scenic beauty abounds and nature is at its best on the South Island, offering a variety of outdoor activities. A variety of delectable wines can be found including renowned Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Marlborough area in the central region. Both countries offer the American traveler much diversity, beauty, fascinating cultural history, fine wines, friendly people and no language barrier.

Experience these exciting destinations yourself–call Gateway Destinations for a tailor-made down under experience designed through our partnership with Down Under Answers.
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Be Aware of Your Surroundings While Traveling

August 15th, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

One of the primary reasons tourists are often targeted for robbery is because they are not paying attention to their surroundings or they look like a helpless tourist. Don’t fall victim to clever ploys by adults or children who approach you for help or with a question as they draw your attention away from guarding your wallet, purse or even money/passport belt. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t, so remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. They will move on to an easier target.

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Does a Custom Boutique Journey Fit Your Travel Style?

August 1st, 2016 / blog / 0 comments
Italy, Custom Travel, GondolaWould you describe yourself as an independent traveler – prefer to have flexibility in your schedule, look for more off-the-beaten path or unique experiences and/or avoid traveling in a group?  If you answer yes to any of these, you may find that a tailor-made itinerary will fulfill your travel dreams infinitely more than a mainstream vacation such as a cruise, resort stay or escorted tour package. So, what exactly is a custom journey? It is an itinerary designed to fit your desired length of time, available budget, choice of accommodations, preferred sightseeing elements and yearned-for experiences. It should include enough structure so as not to waste time, but allow free time for spontaneous moments to explore on your own.

If you enjoy cruising, you may want to consider personalizing your cruise with private shore excursions or adding time before and/or after your cruise in or near your cities of embarkation and disembarkation. For example, a river cruise starting or ending in Budapest could be enriched by adding on additional time in Budapest as well as time in the countryside exploring its delicious wine region. Perhaps you share an interest with other enthusiasts such as biking, golf, cooking or wine-tasting and would enjoy traveling with them focusing on this interest? This is a perfect fit for a custom-designed itinerary to meet the needs of these travelers. Or, perhaps your extended family want to celebrate the holidays or a milestone anniversary while vacationing yet differing interests and ages need to be considered? There really is no limit to creating a journey that best achieves your travel goals.

Gateway Destinations specializes in custom boutique journeys to all international destinations, Alaska and Hawaii. Call owner, Jan Acorn, at 602-923-1542 for your complimentary 20-minute consultation to discuss how you can elevate your travel experience.
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Tired of “Losing” Your Miles or Points?

July 15th, 2016 / blog / 0 comments

Ever experience thinking you had some miles or points to use when you realized they had expired? There are easy ways to keep track of your various miles AND get notified in advance that they will be expiring. One of my favorite programs is called AwardWallet and is free. You might also want to consider TripIt which has a free and paid version.

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